The Role of Orthodoxy in the Growth of Early Christianity

Early ChristianityFrom its humble beginnings, Christianity had, within three hundred years, spread throughout the Mediterranean region. The coming centuries would see the explosive growth of Christianity well beyond confines of its birthplace. What exactly is it that helped Christianity to spread so rapidly in a time when traditional beliefs were ingrained in the population?

There are actually several factors that helped the spread of Christianity. Factors such as the promise of life after death, a community positive message and the unity of the faith as a whole are often acknowledged but the adoption of orthodoxy across Christianity played a greater role then some might think.

The major problem early Christianity suffered from was the disparity of its message. The accepted beliefs in one town might vary greatly from those one town over. There were major variances in the believed nature of Christ and in the teachings of the Apostles. While this may have helped the initial growth of Christianity, it now hampered its growth.

The Nicene Creed codified many Christian beliefs and established an orthodox view of the religion that is still widely accepted to this day. While there are differences in faith across the various branches of Christianity the accepted core principles, such as the divinity of Christ, are not subject to debate within the church. The beliefs of one town became very similar to those of the next town and so on.

This helped Christianity to become accepted as the official state religion by many governments. The rulers of those countries now knew exactly what Christianity stood for and were more willing to give it the official blessing it needed to spread. The backing of powerful states such as the Roman Empire allowed Christianity to expand rapidly throughout Europe and the Near Eastern states. Firmly established in the hearts of the population and secure in its orthodoxy Christianity was now able to survive events such as the fall of the Roman Empire.